I was in Borders (aka: where I have been living lately without internet,) with a friend the other day, scoping out movies after I recalled, from some distant, vague, groggy middle-school memory, the gem of a movie "Someone Like You" and decided I could not live without it. Girls being girls, after I had my copy in hand, Trish and I lingered among the DVDs, pointing out our favorites and asking if the other had ever seen them. We agreed that "Valentine's Day" was cute and likable yet replaceable; that the "Ugly Truth" got a far worse rap than it deserved as we both really liked the truths in it; and then moved on to the slasher flicks. But as we wandered down the lane of "Shutter Island" and "Midnight Meat Train" (NOT a porno as one might expect-- as Trish said, "When I watched it, I was just waiting for some huge black dude to bust in and be like, 'You can't handle my meat!'"), one last movie caught our eye: "He's Just Not That Into You."
If you haven't been reading for so long, one of my first posts was a review of the movie. We both settled into a contented silence looking at the DVD cover before Trish said, "I really like Ben Affleck. You know that scene where he's in the kitchen...?"
EVERY woman knows that moment. That scene, as Jennifer Aniston walks into the kitchen after looking at the sedentary schmucks her sisters married, and finds Ben with kitchen towel and dish soap in hand, and seeing him for the first time since they split, her face starts to crumble into tears of sadness-cum-joy as he puts a plate in the drying rack...that is porn for women.
It's not so much the act of washing the dishes that does it. I've seen men clean before. I've been with some pretty productive men when it comes to cleaning. I've watched a man wash his dishes before, and really, that didn't do it for me. What it is-- what is IS-- is that moment where you see a woman who's floundering in life, after losing her long-time partner, after her beloved father falls into bad health, as she tries to keep her family together, walk into a room and see the last person she would ever expect be the one who's there for her when she needs it the most. Any woman who has ever been in a tight spot knows how much just knowing there's someone in your corner helps. Any woman who has ever been cynical about things working out, only to be proven wrong, knows what that moment feels like. All women relate to that. The problem is, not all woman have that "aha" moment in their kitchen, or, for that matter, anywhere else. It's like an urban dating myth. And that's why it's porn for women.
It's unexpected from men, and that's why we love it so. We're used to one thing, and seeing the reverse happen is refreshing and full of hope. A man's dick, as I realized the other day, is not Marco Polo-- it can't just go exploring every land it wants to. Nor is it Napoleon and the conquerer of all you see. You can nickname it whatever you like-- Maximus even if you're not a gladiator slaying (or laying) all the ladies-- but it just doesn't work that way. And yet, this, and not the kitchen scene ideal, is what we're used to dealing with.
This is not a call to arms for men to stampede to the nearest woman's kitchen and start soaping up. This is just a simple statement of facts: women like to be surprised by kind gestures when least expected. That, and not a man in an apron, is what really turns us on. (In fact, a man in an apron, unless you are Chef Roberto from Florence, is really a mental boner-killer.)
P.S-- The blog turned 1 yesterday! Thanks for a great year, your continued readership, your support, and your comments.